Jonathan Cohn addresses the conservative argument that efforts to reduce carbon emissions are “futile, because we produce only a portion of the world’s greenhouse gases—and the other big polluters aren’t about to do anything about their share. As Senator Marco Rubio put it earlier this month, ‘None of these proposals that liberals want us to impose on ourselves would do anything about the problem.’”
“Are Rubio and his allies right? The U.S. is responsible for about one-fifth of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. That’s a lot of carbon—enough, seemingly, to make reductions worthwhile for their own sake.” And China is now the world’s most prodigious producer.
But one of the Obama administration’s goals of setting emissions reductions standards is to encourage large polluters, like China, to follow.
According to Carol Davenport of the New York Times, Chinese officials will be paying close attention next week: “I’f the EPA standard is really stringent, that will make a difference in the domestic debate in China,’ Qi Ye, director of the Climate Policy Center at Tsinghua University, told Davenport. ‘It will have an impact.’”